CHANDIGARH: The Centre is likely to sanction three growth centers for Punjab under its scheme to industrialize the state.

According to informed sources, the Centre does not favor bestowing the “backward state” status on Punjab a demand the Punjab government has been making for ensuring rapid industrialization of the state.

Two reasons are said to be responsible for the Centre not accepting Punjab’s demand. Declaring Punjab, a high per capita income state, as a backward state will prompt other relatively lesser developed states to make a similar demand. Secondly, the scheme for declaring some areas as back ward is to be gradually phased out and replaced with the scheme of establishing growth centers, which will be located in the backward areas in the countryside and will be provided all facilities and incentives for industrial development.

While the Centre has not taken any decision on the state government’s other major demand for a Rs2, 000 corer petrochemical complex which it had incorporated in the “economic package’’ for the state, a decision has already been taken to set up a Rs 120 corer linear alkyl benzene (Lab) plant for the manufacture of raw materials for household and industrial detergents.

Indications are that the project is likely to be set up in the private sector although efforts are still being made to establish it in joint sector. The Centre is reportedly negotiating with a couple of big business houses out of the numerous applications pending with it for the third plant of its kind in the country, the other two being in Madras and Patalganaga. The Centre is understood to have made it Clear that a letter of intent for the project will be issued only for Setting it up in Punjab. The likely location of the plant will be Rajpura Ludhiana belt.

While appreciating the Centers decision to set up the proposed Lab plant in Punjab, the state government had reportedly made it Clear that the project was not a substitute for the Rs 2,000 corer petrochemical complex which can provide a nucleus to the industrial growth of the state and which in turn would provide employment to thousands of youths.

A decision on the demand for a petrochemical complex is not likely to be taken in the near future as a high-powered group set up by the Government of India is currently going into the question of the number of petrochemical plants needed in the country and their possible sites.

Meanwhile the state government is receiving proposals from certain industrial houses for setting up new industries and expansions of the existing ones.

The government is examining the proposals.

Article extracted from this publication >> October 28, 1988